Pre-Season Preview: Valencia
An in-depth look at Everton's potential pre-season opponents.
Everton’s final opponents on their pre-season tour of America will be Spanish giants, Valencia.
Twice Champions League finalists, Valencia finished fifth in La Liga last season and will once again be aiming to challenge for honours in the Spanish top division in 2013/14.
When do we play them? Tuesday 6 August at 9pm EDT (2am Wednesday BST).
Where? The game is in Miami at the Sun Life Stadium, the home of the Miami Dolphins American football team.
How can I watch it? Tickets are available here. If you can't make it across the pond, the game will be broadcast live on evertontv. Click here to learn more about how you can view the game.
Who’s their boss? Miroslav Djukic. The 47-year-old Serbian returned to Valencia this summer after replacing former boss Ernesto Valverde who was sacked after failing to guide the club to Champions League qualification. Djukic, who spent six years at Valencia as a player between 1997 and 2003, had previously been employed as the head coach at Real Valladolid for the past two seasons.
Spanish journalist and La Liga expert Guillem Balague says: “The change of manager has raised a lot of question marks. Djukic has experience but they’ll have to see who goes before the season.”
Who’s their best player? Éver Maximiliano David Banega. The central midfielder signed for Valencia on a five and a half year deal in January 2008. Banega helped Valencia qualify for the Champions League having played 28 matches during the season of 2010-2011. He made his debut for the Argentina national team on 6 February 2008, aiding the side to a comfortable 5–0 friendly win over Guatemala. He was sidelined for a spell in 2012 due to a car accident leaving him with ankle and knee injuries.
Who’s their unsung hero? Adil Rami. The Frenchman has become an imposing figure at the heart of Valencia’s defence after joining from Lille in 2011. Rami is known for his strength and tackling and has formed an impressive partnership with Ricardo Costa. The 27-year-old has 25 international caps to his name and has become a key cog in the France side coached by Didier Deschamps.
Rami helped former club Lille win the French league title in 2011.
How did they get on last season? The season ended in disappointment for Valencia as they missed out on Champions League qualification to Real Sociedad on the final day. It was also a frustrating campaign for the club in the cup competitions as they were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Madrid at the quarter-final stages and the Champions League by Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16.
Any Everton connections? Manuel Fernandes. The Portuguese midfielder excited Everton fans with his wide array of skills during two loan spells with the Blues in 2007 and 2008. Fernandes cost Valencia £12million but only managed 56 La Liga appearances during his four-year stay at the Mestalla. The 27-year-old is now playing for Besiktas in Turkey.
Have we played them before? No.
What does the expert say about them? Despite narrowly missing out on Champions League football, Balague believes Valencia have done well once again in the league despite their financial problems.
He says: “They’ve got a huge amount of debt and they have to sell players every year but they are still competitive and they finished third in the table over three consecutive years under Unai Emery.
“This year they changed manager but it was the wrong decision. They started badly but Valverde changed things around and almost made it to the Champions League. I wouldn’t call it underachieving as they are struggling financially.”
Valencia are now without their star man, Roberto Soldado after the striker completed a move to Tottenham in a record fee of £26m.